After years of waiting, leaders broke ground on new St. Augustine VA clinic

Groundbreaking held for new VA clinic

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — After years of waiting, construction on a permanent St. Augustine Veterans Affairs Community Based Outpatient Clinic is now officially underway.

Action News Jax was there for the ceremonial groundbreaking as leaders honored local veterans.

For Bill Dudley, chairman of the St. Johns County Veterans Council, this ceremonial shovel toss has been a decade in the making.

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"I had a head full of black hair when I started this program," he said.

Action News Jax showed you back in 2014 when the original VA clinic on U.S. 1 had to relocate because Lowe's bought the land.

The county had offered the VA a spot in its new health department building but because of excessive red tape, that move never happened.

Instead the VA built a temporary facility off of Old Moultrie Road while it put the project out to bid.

The lease was eventually awarded to Construction Managers of North Carolina.

The new facility will be built on State Road 207 and Deerfield Preserve.

It'll be named after Leo C. Chase Jr., who was the first man from St. Johns County to give his life in Vietnam.

Carla Chase called him dad.

"He was a wonderful man. He was kind, gentle," she said.

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William Jefferson said his brother wasn't drafted, he volunteered to serve.

"I feel so blessed and honored to have his name placed on the building," said Jefferson.

The new VA clinic will be more than 16,595 square feet with 136 parking spaces.

"The veterans will be very pleased and very proud of having this in their community," said Dudley.

Construction is expected to finish in late 2020.